I was not looking for trouble this morning. Saturday mornings are for creating new ideas for class, so I was wandering around, listening to Frank Nosche, running through the AP listserve, while working on a revised syllabus for AP Biology.
An advertisement popped up while I viewed a "science" video. (OK, it was a swimming scallop.) The ad was for We Can Do Better New Jersey, a coalition of "various educational and philanthropic groups and individuals" who support NJ's proposed New Jersey Opportunity Scholarship Act, essentially a voucher system that would allow educational scholarships to private schools for low income students.
That's a complicated issue, and not what got me roiling. I can see how well-meaning, reasonable folks can take contrary positions on an issue deeply entwined in history, in culture, and in economics, an issue with profound effects on children.
What got me roiling was the propaganda.
Unlike vouchers, the program is funded by corporate tax credits....[T]here’s no added burden to taxpayers.Um, do the math--states must maintain balanced budgets. Tax credits mean less revenue from the corporation toward the state's general fund.
That's an added burden to the taxpayer--we're either hit for more revenue or we get less services.
You might believe that reducing services is the right thing to do--bully for you. Just don't hide under patently contradictory claims.
If a company wants to give a child, any child, scholarship to go anywhere, anywhere, no one is stopping them....
Because businesses bear a huge burden of having to train unprepared workers who are the products of failed educational experiences, it is only logical that these businesses should have the opportunity to direct their tax liabilities to a source which they feel will improve the educational quality of graduating students (potential employees).
I had a huge burden raising my two children--it's only logical that I should have the opportunity to direct my tax liabilities to my family. Oh, and I'm not paying for roads anymore except the ones I use. If your house is on fire, you pay for the firefighters. It's only logical.
If you believe that public education exists to provide prepared workers for private enterpise, then it's only logical to have the businesses pay for all educational costs. To be fair, a lot of corporations are giving children an education in life--a child working for Apple or Nike learns early on what Hobbesian means.
Is this a voucher bill? No.Yes.
Depends on how you define "voucher," I suppose, but let's keep the argument honest. Public money ("tax credits") directed by private interests will be used to help support private schools. As I said up top, rational people can hold contrary views.
Blatantly misdirecting the argument makes for great sophistry, but I expect more from a website that claims it takes the high ground here:
By leveraging the support of schools and local communities, we hope to convince legislators of the value of this bill for the school children of New Jersey and for all New Jersey citizens fiscally, philosophically, and ethically.
Oh, and one more thing. Asking for donations is a cute touch, gives the site a grass roots feel. I'm betting that the "philanthropists" involved have got the bills covered.
I'd be much obliged if anyone could direct me to a list of donors.